Director’s Message

Mensore (Welcome)! The Center for Okinawan Studies (COS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa was established in July of 2008 to support the academic study of Okinawa, Ryūkyū and the Okinawan diaspora.  It is currently the only such center outside of Japan.  Working with the Center for Japanese Studies, area centers within the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, and with other UH departments, COS encourages the development and offering of both credit and non-credit courses in the performing arts, history and social sciences, language and culture. We also support the work of our affiliated faculty and students in academic units across the UH system. We help to locate additional resources to carry out research, share those results, develop teaching resources, as well as expand and deepen this unique, but growing area of academic study. COS has established and institutionalized educational collaborations with colleges and universities, both in and outside of Okinawa. Finally, the COS works with many local community organizations.

Hawaiʻi in general, and the UH in particular, provides a unique locale for this work.  The foundation provided by Native Hawaiians has inspired and formed the foundation for explorations of various facets of Okinawan indigeneity. Hawaiʻi also boasts the second largest and one of the most actively engaged diasporic Okinawan communities, offering a multiplicity of existing cultural resources.  The East-West Center supports a small, but strong pool of students, faculty and visiting researchers from Okinawa and around the world who are working in a variety of academic areas, but also in Okinawa-related topics.   Additionally, the University of Hawaiʻi Press has consistently published the Okinawa-related works of scholars, both in and outside of Hawaiʻi. Finally, the UH libraries, especially the Asia Collection, and the Hawaiʻi and Pacific Collections, hold invaluable resources for researchers and these are increasingly being shared globally via collaborative virtual platforms.

Ippee Nifee Deebiru (thank you very much) for your support as we work together to further develop this exciting area of Okinawan Studies.

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